Monday, 17 April 2017

Polish Babka

Polish fruity babka with lemon icing for Easter

Here's a cake/bread I made for Easter :) Babka is a traditional Polish bread served at Easter time, and there are so many varieties, it was difficult to find a consistent recipe. I finally found one I liked however, and it turned out pretty yummy :) This babka is like a fruity sweet bread, topped with lemon icing. It reminds me a little of hot cross buns in taste and texture, and makes a nice centrepiece to an afternoon tea.
I used a 23cm circular bundt tin, like the one pictured below:


The bread/cake was really easy to prepare, and it requires NO kneading :) Just make sure to give plenty of time for the dough to rise. If you have time, for the best flavour, cover the dough in clingfilm and place in the fridge overnight. In the morning, bring the dough to room temperature for around an hour, before baking. As a minimum, leave the dough to prove for 2 hours.

Makes one 23cm cake (easily serves 12)

Ingredients:

For the cake:

  • 500g (2 cups) plain flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 sachets instant dried yeast (7g)
  • 90g (1/3 cups) granulated sugar
  • 90g (1/3 cup) softened unsalted butter
  • 120ml (1/2 cup) milk
  • 150g (1/2 cup) mixed dried fruits (I used raisins, sultanas and mixed candied peel)
  • 1 lemon, zested finely
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp mixed spice

For the icing:

  • 175g (2/3 cup) icing sugar
  • 2-3 tbsp lemon juice
  • yellow food colouring (I used Wilton concentrated food gel)

Method:

1. In a large mixing bowl, pour in the flour. To opposite sides of the bowl add the yeast and the salt (so that they do not touch). Briefly stir the flour mixture to evenly distribute the salt and yeast.

2. Heat the milk and butter in a saucepan until the butter has melted and the milk is bubbling. Set aside to cool to a tepid temperature (when it feels warm to your finger rather than hot).

3. To the flour, add the sugar, lemon zest, eggs, vanilla and other spices. Slowly add the milk/butter and beat with a wooden spoon until a dough is formed (there is no need to knead the dough). 

4. Lightly grease a bundt tin, and tip in the dough (it wants to be about 1/3 full). Cover with cling film, and set aside for at least 2 hours or until it has doubled in size.

5. Preheat the oven to 180c (160c fan)/350f/ gas mark 4. Bake the cake for 30-35 minutes, or until the top is brown and a skewer inserted into the centre of the bread comes out clean. If the bread browns too quickly, cover with foil to finish baking.

6. To make the icing, sift the sugar into a bowl and add the lemon juice. Stir until all of the sugar has been absorbed - you want the icing to be bright white and thick enough to coat the back of a spoon and slowly drop of the spoon.

7. Set aside a few tablespoons of icing, and colour yellow.

8. Once cool, turn the cake out onto the presentation dish. Spread the white icing over the top of the cake, allowing it to slightly drip down the sides of the cake.

9. Pour the yellow icing into a piping bag. Pipe thin yellow lines over the cake. Wait for the icing to set.

10. Enjoy!

This bread is nicest eaten the day it's baked, or it can be frozen before icing.

Polish fruity babka with lemon icing for Easter

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Tuesday, 4 April 2017

The Ultimate Birthday Cheesecake

stacked kahlua cointreau chocolate cheesecake oreo

stacked kahlua cointreau chocolate cheesecake oreo slice

Hi everyone!! Life has been too painful for the last few weeks in the lead up to the marathon, so I have been lazy with blogging :( But now the marathon is over WOOHOO, and I can get back to writing!

Last week, as well as being the last week before the dreaded M day, it was my partner's 30th birthday. He LOVES cheesecake, and I mean LOVES it, so I thought I'd have a go at making a cheesecake that was a bit more special than usual.

Baked cheesecakes stack surprisingly well, so I decided on making a two layered cheesecake, one half was dark chocolate and kahlua (one of his favourite spirits) and the other was white chocolate and cointreau (because cointreau is amazing). 

I smothered the cheesecake layers with a milk chocolate cream cheese frosting, and patted on crushed oreos for the textured look. Finally I topped the cake off with a chocolate slab, and a white chocolate slab (designed to look like the lego logo, but I don't know how well that came through...)

We love the cheesecake, but I would say it's a great cake for MANY people to enjoy - this could very easily serve and fill 20 people. It's lasting really well though - we've had it in the fridge 6 days so far, and it is still in great condition, even after being cut into.

So if you know someone who likes cheesecake, this really wasn't that hard a recipe, and the taste was worth any effort spent making it :)

Also if you'd like a non-alcoholic version, you can replace the kahlua with espresso coffee, and the cointreau with orange juice.

Serves 20

Ingredients:

For the Kahlua cheesecake:

  • 200g (2 cups) chocolate covered hobnobs, crushed
  • 50g (1/4 cup) butter, melted
  • 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 225g (1 & 1/2 cups) dark chocolate
  • 400g (2 cups) cream cheese
  • 100g (1/2 cup and 1/2 tbsp) soft brown sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 300ml (1 & 1/4 cups) double cream
  • 5 tbsp Kahlua (or espresso coffee/strong instant coffee)

For the Cointreau cheesecake:

  • 200g (2 cups) digestives (or you could use more hobnobs), crushed
  • 50g (1/4 cup) butter melted
  • Finely grated zest of one orange
  • 400g (2 cups) cream cheese
  • 450g (3 cups) white chocolate
  • 300ml (1 & 1/4 cups) double cream
  • 4 eggs
  • 3 tbsp Cointreau (or orange juice)

For the frosting:

  • 200g (1 cup) cream cheese
  • 50g (1/3 cup) milk chocolate, melted

To finish:

  • 100g Oreos, crushed (1 cup)
  • 75g (1/2 cup) milk chocolate
  • 75g (1/2 cup) white chocolate
  • pink concentrated gel food colouring (or red if you have it)
  • 4 straws (or cake dowels)
  • 1 digestive biscuit
  • Edible silver food colouring paintbrush/pen (optional)

Method:

For the Kahlua cheesecake:

1. Preheat the oven to 160c (140c fan)/ f/ gas mark 4. Lightly grease the base and sides of a 23cm springform cake tin.

2. Pour the finely crushed hobnobs into a bowl and stir in the cinnamon. Pour over the melted butter, and stir until the biscuit crumbs are starting to stick together. Pour into the prepared tin and use the back of a spoon to press the biscuits on the base and halfway up the sides of the tin. 

3. Bake for 10 minutes, then take out of the oven to cool.

4. Melt the dark chocolate by placing in a microwave on full power for 20 second bursts, stirring well after each addition. Once all of the chocolate has melted set aside to cool for 5 minutes.

5. Beat the cream cheese with the sugar. Once all of the sugar has dissolved, whisk in the eggs one at a time.

6. Add the melted chocolate, double cream and Kahlua, and whisk until smooth.

7. Pour into the prepared cake tin, and bake for around 1 hour, until only the middle of the cheesecake wobbles when the tin is lightly shaken. 

8. Take the cheesecake out of the oven, and run a knife around the cheesecake - this helps to prevent any cracking when the cheesecake cools. Leave to cool to room temperature, then chill for at least 2 hours.

For the Cointreau Cheesecake:

1. Preheat the oven to 160c (140c fan)/ f/ gas mark 4. Lightly grease the base and sides of a 23cm springform cake tin.


2. Pour the finely crushed digestive biscuits into a bowl and add the grated orange zest and melted butter. Stir until the butter has mixed well with the biscuits, then tip into the prepared cake tin. Press the biscuits down into the base and halfway up the sides of the cake tin.

3. Bake the base of the cheesecake for 10 minutes, then remove from the oven to cool.

4. Melt the chocolate and double cream in a saucepan on a low heat. Stir the chocolate/cream regularly to be sure that it doesn't overheat. Once all of the chocolate has melted, set aside to cool for 5 minutes.

5. Pour the cream cheese into a medium mixing bowl and whisk in the eggs one at a time. Pour over the white chocolate/cream mixture and cointreau, and whisk until smooth.

6. Pour into the prepared cake tin, and bake for 1 hour until only the middle of the cheesecake moves when the cheesecake is lightly shaken.

7. Take out of the oven and immediately run a knife around the edge of the cheesecake to help prevent cracking. Set aside to cool to room temperature, then place in the fridge for at least two hours until chilled.

To assemble:

1. Beat the cream cheese with the melted chocolate until smooth.

2. Take both cheesecakes out of the fridge and remove from their tins. Place the first cheesecake on a cake board (I used the white chocolate cheesecake on the bottom, but either way round will work fine). 

3. Place 4 straws in the bottom cheesecake so that they are the corners of a 5cm square in the middle of the cheesecake. Trim the straws so that they just poke out of the top of the cheesecake - these act as stabilisers for the cake.

4. Place the second cheesecake on top of the first. Spread the chocolate cheese frosting over the top and sides of the cake.

6. Pat the crushed Oreos all over the stacked cheesecake and place in the fridge to set for an hour.

7. Melt 75g milk chocolate in a microwave on high power, for 15 second bursts, stirring well after each burst. Once fully melted leave to cool for a few minutes to thicken slightly.

8. Cover a tray with cling film, and pour on the milk chocolate. Spread the chocolate thinly to the rough shape of a 20cm square. This will be the "plaque" for the cake. Place in the fridge for 30 minutes, until set.

9. Repeat with the white chocolate - I made a much smaller rectangle of this, and coloured half of it pink (by dipping a cocktail stick into the pink food colouring and mixing this into the melted white chocolate). After spreading out the pink chocolate, place the white chocolate in a piping bag. Place the pink chocolate in the freezer for a few minutes until set. Cut the end off the piping bag (cut 2-3mm from the end), and pipe whatever you like onto the pink chocolate. 

10. I used an edible silver glitter pen to mark up the milk chocolate plaque, but to be honest, the white chocolate works better, so you can pipe the remainder of the white chocolate onto the set milk chocolate.

11. Trim the milk and white chocolate slabs to even rectangles, and place on the cake. I used a spare digestive biscuit to prop up the plaque, which my boyfriend liked :) 

12. Enjoy!!!

stacked kahlua cointreau chocolate cheesecake oreo slice


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Tuesday, 14 March 2017

Cherry Chocolate Meringue Cake

Cherry Chocolate Meringue Cake Top

Cherry Chocolate Meringue Cake

Cherry Chocolate Meringue Cake 2


Cherry Chocolate Meringue Cake


So it was my boyfriend's sister's birthday recently and I decided to bake her a cake :) The cake itself is my favourite recipe for a brownie-like cake, which is super moist and chocolatey, which amazing crunch from chopped walnuts and chocolate chips. I used it in another of my showstopper bakes - here -, but I'll post the recipe below anyway :)
I filled the cake with a homemade cherry compote, and frosted the cake with a cherry Swiss meringue buttercream. To decorate I made french meringues :D
Elaborate but worth the effort.

Makes one 20cm cake

Ingredients:

For the cake:
  • 250g (1 cup) unsalted butter
  • 200g (1 & 1/3 cups) dark chocolate (55% cocoa solids)
  • 300g (1 & 1/2 cups) granulated sugar (or brown sugar for an extra caramel note)
  • 4 tbsp water
  • 100g (2/3 cup) dark chocolate chips
  • 4 medium eggs
  • 200g (1 & 2/3 cups) plain flour
  • 75g (1/2 cup) chopped walnuts, and 1 tbsp for decoration
  • 30g (4 tbsp) cocoa powder
For the Swiss meringue buttercream:
  • 6 egg whites
  • 300g (1 & 2/3 cups) brown sugar
  • 400g (1 & 3/4 cups) unsalted butter, cut into 1-2cm cubes (ROOM TEMPERATURE)
For the French meringue:

  • 75g (3/4 cup) icing sugar
  • 75g (1/3 cup) caster sugar
  • 3 egg whites

For the cherry compote:

  • 300g (2 & 1/3 cups) frozen pitted black cherries, defrosted
  • 2 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice

To finish:



Method:

To make the cake layers:

1. Preheat your oven to 180c (160c fan)/ 355F/ gas mark 4 . Grease two 20cm springform or loose bottomed round cake tins, then tip in about 1 tbsp of cocoa powder. Tap the tin to evenly distribute the cocoa.

2. In a saucepan melt together the 200g dark chocolate (broken into chunks), unsalted butter (chopped into chunks), sugar and water. Once all of the butter and chocolate have melted set aside to cool for a few minutes.

3. In a large mixing bowl pour in the chocolate/butter melted mixture. Add the chocolate chips, eggs, flour, chopped nuts and cocoa powder, and beat until smooth.

4. Pour into the prepared cake tins (get them as even as possible), and bake for 18-20 minutes, until the top of the cake feels springy and the top feels crisp. If you shake the tin, there should be a small amount of wobble in the very centre of the cake - this will make the layers moist and delicious.

5. Leave the cakes in their tins to cool for 10 minutes, then remove onto a wire rack to cool completely.

6. Level the top of the cakes using a serrated knife (eat the cut offs if you want a chef's perk!).

To make the cherry compote:

1. Pour the cherries (with any juice that emerged when defrosting), sugar and lemon juice into a saucepan and heat until simmering.

2. Simmer for 5 minutes until the mixture has thickened slightly and the juice has reduced down to a half of it's original volume. Leave to cool.

3. Blend in a food processor and set aside.

To make the buttercream:

1. Thoroughly clean a glass or ceramic bowl, as well as the whisk beaters you will use for the buttercream. The best way to do this is to lightly dampen kitchen towel with lemon/lime juice and wipe this over the inside of your bowl/beaters.

1. Place a few tablespoons of water in a small saucepan, and get a heatable mixing bowl (i.e. not a plastic one!) that can fit on the saucepan without touching the water. Into this bowl add the egg whites and brown sugar.

2. Place the saucepan on a low heat, and place the mixing bowl on top. Use an electric whisk to beat the egg whites/brown sugar, until the mixture reaches 71c/ 160F. This will take about 10 minutes.

3. Remove the bowl from the heat, and tip the egg white/sugar mixture into another large mixing bowl (this will help the meringue to cool a bit faster). 

4. Use an electric whisk to beat the meringue until it is glossy and a stiff peak of meringue forms when the whisk is lifted from the mixture (i.e. a peak falls where the tip stays upright and doesn't fall to either side).

5. Whilst whisking, add the butter chunk by chunk. Don't be tempted to add more than a chunk at a time, as the mixture may curdle. Keep beating, until all of the butter has been added and the buttercream is smooth.

6. Add 2-3 tablespoons of the cherry compote (make sure it's at room temperature), and gently fold in - if you want a ripple effect whisk very briefly. Set aside.

To make the French meringue:

1. Thoroughly clean a glass or ceramic bowl, as well as the whisk beaters you will use for the buttercream. The best way to do this is to lightly dampen kitchen towel with lemon/lime juice and wipe this over the inside of your bowl/beaters.

2. Preheat the oven to 120c (100c fan)/ 250F/ gas mark 1/2. Line two baking trays with greaseproof paper.

3. Mix the icing sugar and caster sugar together briefly.

4. Whisk the egg whites until they are very foamy (like shaving foam), and stand to a peak when the beaters are lifted from the mixture. I find a hand-held electric whisk is the best equipment for this.

5. Whilst whisking, add the sugar mixture a tablespoon at a time, waiting for 5-10 seconds between each addition. Keep whisking until the mixture is white, glossy and stands to a firm peak when the beaters are lifted from the mixture.

6. Divide the mixture into two. Dip a toothpick/skewer into concentrated purple/pink food colouring, and use this to colour one of the two mixtures. Whisk until evenly distributed.

7.  Fit a piping bag with a 1M piping nozzle (a large open star one). Fill one side of the bag with the white meringue, and the other side with the purple and cut the end off the tip of the bag. Holding the bag vertically over a tray, pipe directly downwards then bring the bag quickly upwards to form a peak. This makes meringue kisses. I also played with making other shapes, like letters, hearts, and numbers :)

8.  Bake the meringues in the oven for around 1 hour, or until a meringue can be lifted from the paper and sounds hollow when lightly tapped on the base. Leave in the oven to cool. Carefully lift the meringues off of the paper - they are very fragile as seen by some of my bigger meringues having cracks (they definitely look homemade though!).

To assemble the cake:

1. Place a spoonful of the buttercream onto the surface of a cake tin/presentation dish. Place the first cake layer onto this buttercream - this prevents the cake from slipping.

2. Spoon a quarter of the buttercream into a piping bag, and cut the end off the bag 1cm from the end.

3. Pipe around the edge of the cake layer. Fill the middle with any reserved cherry conserve, and evenly spread (don't blend with the outer ring of buttercream.

4. Top with the buttercream left in the piping bag, piping concentric circles over the jam. Lightly smooth over, and top with the other layer of cake.

5. Press the cake down lightly. Place a large spoonful of buttercream onto the top of the cake, and use a palette knife to smooth the buttercream over the top and then sides of the cake. This doesn't need to be neat or thick - it acts as a "crumb coat" so that no crumbs will show through when you spread your final layer of buttercream on.

6. Once the cake is covered in the thin "crumb layer" of buttercream, place in the fridge for 15-20 minutes, until the buttercream is no longer sticky to the touch.

7. Meanwhile, chop the chocolate finely and melt in a microwave using full power bursts of 20-30 seconds, stirring well between  each addition. Once melted, pour into a piping bag and cut 2mm off the tip.

8. Pipe your desired shapes onto a sheet of greaseproof paper or cling-film. Chill for 15-20 minutes, until set.

9. Once the crumb coat has set, take the cake out of the fridge, and cover the tops and sides of the cake with the remainder of the buttercream. The smoothest way to do this is to use a long palette knife or a metal dough scraper. Once the buttercream is on the top and sides of the cake, dip the knife/scraper in hot water and wipe clean. Then, whilst still warm, run the knife along the side of the cake (holding it vertically). Repeat with the top of the cake (this time holding the knife horizontally).

10. I had some buttercream left so filled a piping bag (fitted with the 1M nozzle used earlier), and piped "kisses" around the top of the cake (in the same way the French meringue was piped).

11. Top the cake with the French meringue, tuxedo strawberries, reserved chopped walnuts and chocolate decorations.

12. Enjoy!

Cherry Chocolate Meringue Cake

Casa Costello
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Monday, 6 March 2017

Vegan Mango Cupcakes

Vegan Mango Cupcakes with Lime Buttercream

Here's a slightly different cupcake I made a few weeks ago, inspired by the Indian Mango Lassi drink - a mango cupcake filled with mango puree and frosted with a lime buttercream, and it's all suitable for vegans :O The cupcake itself is egg-free, which I think makes the mango flavour really stand out. If you're not vegan, you could use butter in the buttercream, but a dairy free butter works really well too.

I used these cool black lace wraps for the cupcakes, which I found in my local home & bargains. Normal cupcake cases would work well too :)
Finally I used a Wilton 2D piping nozzle for the buttercream, which I've used before in my vanilla rose cupcakes :) I've been having a play with some other piping techniques, which I'll hopefully be able to share with you soon (some of them look SO cool).
You could also try two-toning the buttercream by painting a line of food colouring up along the inside of the piping bag. This gives a very pretty result :)

I found these cupcakes were perfect the day AFTER baking, so you could always bake the cupcakes one day and frost the next. I baked and frosted the same day and served them the day after, and they went down very well :D

Makes 12 cupcakes

Ingredients:

For the cupcakes:

  • 180g (1 & 1/2 cups) self-raising flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 375g (1 & 1/2 cups) mango puree*
  • 75g (1/3 cup) vegetable oil
  • 125g (2/3 cup) caster sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

For the lime buttercream:

  • 150g (2/3 cup) block of margarine (the Stork pastry block of margarine works best), softened
  • 300g (3 cups) icing sugar, sieved
  • 1-2 tbsp lime juice

To finish:

  • Gold shimmer spray
  • 50g mango puree

* If you can't find a can of mango puree, most big supermarkets (in the UK at least) sell frozen mango chunks. If you defrost and blitz these, they'll work just as well (just be sure to blend them until smooth).

Method:

1. Preheat your oven to 170c (160c fan)/340f/gas mark 3. Line 12 cupcake wells with cupcake cases/wraps.

2. Pour all of the ingredients for the cupcakes into a large mixing bowl and whisk until smooth.

3. Use an ice cream scoop to evenly distribute the batter between the cupcake cases.

4. Bake for 15-18 minutes, until the cakes feel springy to the touch. Leave to cool in the tins.

5. Use a teaspoon to dig into the centre of the cupcake, removing enough cupcake to go halfway down the cupcake.

6. Add a teaspoon of mango puree to the cavity of each cupcake.

7. Make the buttercream. Beat the margarine until really soft and spreadable.

8. Add half of the icing sugar and lime juice, and use a wooden spoon to beat the sugar into the butter.

9. Once all of the sugar has been incorporated add the other half of the icing sugar and keep beating until smooth.

10. Place a 2D nozzle into a piping bag and fill with the buttercream.

11. Cut the end off of the nozzle so that the tip of the nozzle has fully emerged from the bag.

12. Starting in the centre of the cupcake, pipe one continuous swirl (like a snail shell?). Repeat for all of the cupcakes.

13. Spray with the gold shimmer if you like and enjoy!

Vegan Mango Cupcakes with Lime Buttercream

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Thursday, 2 March 2017

Super Simple Sausage Rolls

Sausage rolls


Sausage rolls as a kite



Hi guys!

Wow this week's been busy, and I'm not even sure what I've done :-/ Apart from having time off work for a swollen eye... that's pretty much healed now though, so I thought I'd post a super simple recipe for sausage rolls. They're great to keep in the fridge for a family friendly snack, or made a big roll and have it for dinner! I've tried loads of varieties of shapes and these are just a snapshot of what you can do with the pastry.

If you want to make your own puff pastry, I have a great recipe for it here. However, for a quick fuss-free fix, store-bought puff pastry will work brilliantly.
For these sausage rolls, I used good quality store bought sausages, which I then added dill too, which is my boyfriend's all time favourite herb. I've also tried cubes of apple, which is pretty wonderful :) 
Makes one large roll (with spare pastry) (or around 16 smaller ones, or 8 kite like pastries).

Ingredients:
  • One roll of puff pastry (375g)
  • 400g sausages (around 8 medium)
  • Handful of dill, finely chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Other spices and herbs as you like!
  • Chopped apple (optional)
  • 1 egg, beaten

Method:

1. Preheat your oven to 200c (180c fan)/ 400f/ gas mark 6. Line the base of a baking tray with greaseproof paper.

2. Roll out your homemade puff pastry/store bought pastry block to about 2-3mm thickness (around 30x20cm in size), or roll your ready-rolled pastry slightly to get it to this width. 

3. If making the roll (or mini rolls), trim off one third of pastry length - this isn't needed. You can use the excess to make mini sausage rolls, or simply slice them and grate over cheese and/or sprinkle over some paprika :) Place the puff pastry in the fridge to stay firm whilst you prepare the filling.
If making square kites, cut the pastry into 8 evenly sized rectangles and place in the fridge to stay firm until needed.

4. Take the sausages out of their skins into a medium sized bowl. Add the seasoning, herbs and apples (if using). Use a fork to evenly distribute the flavourings throughout the sausage meat.

5. Take the pastry out of the fridge. 

If making mini sausage rolls:
Place the sausage meat evenly along the middle and across the length of the long rectangle of pastry. Dap the long edge with a little water, then bring both sides up to meet each other and stick. Cut 1cm slices of the sausage roll off and place on the prepared baking tray.

If making the plaited roll:
Place the sausage meat evenly along the middle and across the length of the long rectangle of pastry. 
To the right and left of the sausage meat, slice into the puff pastry horizontally, and cut slits about 1cm apart.
Puff pastry sliced to plait
My boyfriend helpfully showing the cutting technique minus the sausage filling!
Forming the sausage plait
Bring the strips of the pastry over the sausage meat, forming a kind of plait.

Finished uncooked sausage plait


If making the kites:
Place large spoonfuls of sausage meat on the centre of each square, making sure their is a 1.5cm gap between the edge of the pastry and the meat.
At each corner of the square, slice a diagonal line towards the sausage meat, but don't touch the meat!
Starting at the top right corner slit, pick up the pastry to the right of the slit and press it on the centre of the sausage meat.
Repeat with each corner (each time picking up the pastry to the right of the cut).

6. Brush each sausage pastry with the beaten egg. 

7. Bake the mini sausage rolls for 20 - 25 minutes, until golden and firm to the touch.
Bake the sausage kites for 25-30 minutes.
Bake the large sausage roll for 35-40 minutes, keeping an eye at the end to make sure that the top doesn't become overly brown whilst the base is still cooking. If it does seem to be browning a lot, cover with foil until the base is dry to the touch.

8. Leave to cool. Enjoy warm or cold (they'll keep for 4-5 days in an airtight container in a fridge, or if the pastry/sausages haven't previously been frozen, they can be kept in the freezer for up to 3 months).

Sausage rolls and plait


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Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Blue Velvet Cake


Blue Velvet Cake with Blue Sugar and Cream Cheese frosting

Blue Velvet Cake with Blue Sugar and Cream Cheese frosting Slice

This cake sounds odd but tastes amazing, and is a nice spin on the classic red velvet cake. To put this into perspective, I made this cake for someone who loved the Winnie the Pooh character Eeyore. I've wanted to find a good red velvet recipe for a while, and changing the colour of a cake is pretty simple when food colouring is the source of the food.

I covered and filled the cake with a simple cream cheese icing, then made my own blue sugar crystals to finish.

The cake went down really well, and stayed moist for days afterwards! The cake was finished off today but had lasted nearly a week in an airtight container.

Also, there's still loads of time if anyone would like to donate to the amazing Christie's charity - they have one of the largest cancer centres in Europe and have saved so many lives. I'm running a marathon in April, and would love to raise as much money as possible for them - my justgiving page is here.

Makes one 23cm cake

Ingredients:

For the cake:

  • 110g (1/2 cup) softened butter or margarine
  • 250g (1 & 1/4 cups) granulated or caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 225ml (1 cup) natural yoghurt or buttermilk
  • 2 tsp blue food colouring (I used a concentrated gel)
  • 280g (2 cups) plain flour
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 tsp white vinegar


For the cream cheese frosting:

  • 110g (1/2 cup) softened butter
  • 225g (1 cup) cream cheese
  • 480g (4 cups) icing sugar, sifted
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract


For the blue crystals:

  • 100g (1/2 cup) caster sugar
  • 35ml (1/4 cup) water
  • toothpick dipped in concentrated blue food colouring


Method:

1. Grease the base and sides of two 23cm springform circular cake tins. Line the bases with baking parchment.

2. Preheat your oven to 180c (160c fan)/355f/ gas mark 4.

3. Cream the butter or margarine against the sides of a bowl until it is really soft and spreadable. Add the sugar and cream together until light and fluffy.

4. Add the eggs, vanilla, food colouring and yoghurt/buttermilk and one tablespoon of the plain flour, and whisk until smooth.

5. Sift in the remaining plain flour, cocoa powder and salt. Use a large spoon to fold the flour/cocoa/salt into the cake mixture, until no flour speckles can be seen.

6. In a small bowl whisk together the bicarbonate of soda and vinegar. Immediately pour into the cake batter and fold in.

7. Evenly divide the batter between the two cake tins. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the top is springy and a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tins.

8. To make the frosting, cream the butter against the side of the bowl until it is very soft and spreadable.

9. Add the cream cheese and beat with the butter until smooth. Pour in the vanilla extract and half of the icing sugar, and beat until all of the sugar has been combined. Add the other half of the icing sugar and beat until smooth.

IF you have lumps of butter in your icing, don't stress! I've had this problem before, and have found an easy fix. Use a hand blender to blitz the frosting - it will go lovely and smooth, and didn't lose firmness :)
Place in the fridge until ready to use.

10. Grease and line a baking tray with greaseproof paper.

11. Make the blue sugar crystals by pouring the sugar and water into a medium saucepan. Place on a low heat, and heat until all of the sugar has dissolved.

12. Turn the heat up to medium, and heat (WITHOUT STIRRING). It will bubble up pretty ferociously, and after about 5 minutes, the bubbles will settle down to a nice rumble - when it gets to this stage keep a close eye on it. At that point, swirl the pan every minute or so.

12. Once the colour turns a golden colour (on a sugar thermometer it will read 149 - 154c/300-310f), dip the food coloured toothpick into the sugar. Swirl until the sugar has been evenly coloured, then pour onto the lined baking tray. Leave to set for around 10 minutes, until cold. If you want to make shards rather than small crystals, spread the blue caramel around the tray so that it is around 2mm thick.

13. Break into shards. Leave them like this if you like, or crush the sugar using a rolling pin or high powered food processor.

14. To assemble the cake, remove both cakes from the tins, and use a serrated knife to level the top of the cakes off (effectively removing the dome formed on top of the cake).

15. Place a small amount of icing on the middle of the cake board/serving tray, and top with the first cake layer. This acts like glue so that the cake won't slip!

16. Place around a third of the icing on top of the first cake layer, and smooth over the top. Top with the other cake layer.

17. Spread a small amount of the icing around the sides and top of the cake using a palette knife. This doesn't need to look neat - it acts as a crumb coat, meaning that when you put the final layer of icing on, you won't see any blue crumbs in the final finish.
Place the cake in the fridge for 10-15 minutes for the icing to become less sticky.

18. Place a large spoonful of icing on the top of the cake, and use a palette knife to evenly smooth over the cake top. Then add a big spoonful of icing on the side of the cake, and smooth this around the sides. Once the sides of the cake have been covered, dip the palette knife in hot water, dry it, then smooth around the cake. This will give the neatest finish.

19. Place the sugar crystals around the base of the cake, or where wished. This cake was made for my sister Gwyneth, so I did a big G on the middle of the cake :)

20. Place in the fridge to set for around half an hour. I had mine in a cake box overnight (so easily over 12 hours) and the icing didn't melt.

21. Enjoy!


Blue Velvet Cake with Blue Sugar and Cream Cheese frosting


Blue Velvet Cake with Blue Sugar and Cream Cheese frosting Slice

Brilliant blog posts on HonestMum.comDiary of an imperfect mum
TammymumMummy in a Tutu
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Saturday, 11 February 2017

Cookies and Cream Ombre Cake with Swiss Meringue Buttercream and Tuxedo Strawberries



Cookies and Cream Cake Swiss Meringue Buttercream Chocolate Tuxedo Strawberries Valentines

Cookies and Cream Cake Swiss Meringue Buttercream Chocolate Tuxedo Strawberries Valentines

Cookies and Cream Cake Swiss Meringue Buttercream Chocolate Tuxedo Strawberries Valentines

Cut Cookies and Cream Cake Swiss Meringue Buttercream Chocolate Tuxedo Strawberries Valentines

Hey guys. First things first, I'm running the Manchester Marathon in April to raise money for The Christie, who are one of the largest cancer centres in Europe, and are an amazing charity :) I had a recent unexpected close family bereavement, which hit us all very hard. Raising this money would be my only way of trying to do something good out of such an awful situation. Any donations would be hugely appreciated and it's super simple to do - just follow the link to my Justgiving page (https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Bronwyn-Dawson). They automatically donate the money to The Christie, and are the most reputable fundraising sites I know of :)

Now back to baking...Here's a valentine's treat for you all :) I made this about a month ago, but thought it made the perfect to cake to make a loved one this Tuesday. I call it a cookies and cream ombre cake - simply it's cocoa butter-less sponges sandwiched with Oreo swiss meringue buttercream, and covered with vanilla swiss meringue buttercream that has been coloured various shades of pink. I topped them with some super cute tuxedo strawberries and dark and white chocolate hearts (coloured with a little pink food colouring).

It was loads of fun to make and tasted incredible :)

I find cake boards are a great way to stack, transport and present a cake, but if you can't find them, just make sure you have a base that is big enough for the whole cake, and that you can stick the bottom cake layer to the tray (this will help prevent the cake from falling over in transportation).

Makes 1 20cm cake

Ingredients:

For the cake:

  • 285g plain flour
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
  • 2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 250g caster sugar
  • 110ml milk
  • 6 egg whites (room temperature)
  • 6 egg yolks

For the Swiss meringue buttercream:

  • 6 egg whites
  • 300g (1 & 2/3 cups) caster sugar
  • 400g butter (1 & 3/4 cups), at room temperature, cut into 1cm cubes
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 75g original oreos, crushed
  • Pink food colouring (I use a concentrated gel from Wilton)

For the tuxedo strawberries and chocolate hearts:

  • 150g strawberries (do NOT hull them)
  • 100g white chocolate
  • 100g dark chocolate
Equipment:
  • 1 x plastic heart mould tray
  • 1 x 23cm cake board
  • 3 x 23cm cake tins


Method:

To make the cake layers:

1. Preheat your oven to 180c (160c fan)/ 350f/ gas mark 4. Grease and line the bases of three 23cm cake tins with greaseproof paper.

2. Whisk the egg yolks, caster sugar and vanilla together using a hand whisk (or in a stand mixer with a whisk attachment). Whisk until it has at least doubled in volume and become a light orange colour.

3. Pour in the milk and keep whisking for 3-5 minutes, until when the whisk is lifted from the mixture, a ribbon of mix falls down onto the batter, and am impression is left on the top of the batter for a few seconds.

4. Sift the flour, cocoa powder, cream of tartar and bicarbonate of soda into a large mixing bowl, then pour into the bowl containing the yolks/sugar/vanilla/milk. Keep whisking briefly until all of the flour has been incorporated.

5. In a separate grease-free bowl (if you're worried about any grease, lightly wipe the inside of your bowl and whisk with lemon/lime juice before whisking) whisk the egg whites until they are very frothy and white, and form peaks when the whisk is removed from the mix (this will take around 3-4 minutes if your eggs are at room temperature).

6. Add a third of the egg whites to the cake mix, and fold into the batter - this can be beaten in thoroughly as it "slackens" the cake mix.

7. Gently fold in the remaining egg whites, using a large metal spoon if possible. Folding means gently stirring around the edge of the mix and cut through the middle repeatedly, just until no more egg whites are visible.

8. Evenly pour the batter into the four cake tins (you can weigh these to be super precise). Carefully level off the cake mix in the tin by tilting the tin and allowing the mixture to settle evenly over the tin.

9. Bake for 18-20 minutes, until golden on top, and a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. Set aside to cool.


To make the buttercream:

1. Place a few tablespoons of water in a small saucepan, and get a heatable mixing bowl (i.e. not a plastic one!) that can fit on the saucepan without touching the water. Into this bowl add the egg whites and caster sugar.

2. Place the saucepan on a low heat, and place the mixing bowl on top. Use an electric whisk to beat the egg whites/brown sugar, until the mixture reaches 71c/ 160F. This will take about 10 minutes.

3. Remove the bowl from the heat, and tip the egg white/sugar mixture into another large mixing bowl (this will help the meringue to cool a bit faster). 

4. Use an electric whisk to beat the meringue until it is glossy and a stiff peak of meringue forms when the whisk is lifted from the mixture (i.e. a peak falls where the tip stays upright and doesn't fall to either side).

5. Whilst whisking, add the butter chunk by chunk. Don't be tempted to add more than a chunk at a time, as the mixture may curdle. Keep beating, until all of the butter has been added and the buttercream is smooth. Add the vanilla and beat briefly to combine.

6. Move one third of the buttercream to a different bowl and to this third, add the crushed oreos. Beat until the crumbs are well distributed.

7. Take another third of the buttercream out of the bowl, and split this into two bowls. To one of these small bowls, add a small amount of pink food colouring. To the other, add about double the quantity (or use a stronger pink/red colouring if you have it).

8. Leave the final third of the buttercream white.

To assemble the cake:

1. Remove all of the cakes from their tins, and use a serrated knife to level the top of the cake (so that you are removing any dome formed during baking) - a chef's perk is to eat these cuttings dipped in any spare buttercream (bliss!).

2. Take a heaped tablespoon of the white buttercream and smooth it over the centre of whatever is being used as the cake board. Place your first sponge onto this board and stick down.

3. Spoon half of the oreo buttercream onto the cake layer and smooth over to the edges of the cake layer. Top with the next layer of cake.

4. Add the other half of the oreo buttercream, smooth over to the edges and top with the final layer of cake.

5.  Divide the white buttercream into two. Use a palette knife to spread a thin layer of the white buttercream from one of the bowls over the top and sides of the cake (this is called crumb coating)- don't dip the palette knife into the other bowl of buttercream - this means you're trapping the crumbs from the cake in this thin layer, and your cake will look uber posh at the end.

6. Place the cake in the fridge for 20 minutes - 1 hour, until it isn't sticky when lightly pressed. Meanwhile fill piping bags with half of the white (without any crumbs), light pink and dark pink buttercream - one colour in each bag.

7. Spread the white buttercream not in a piping bag onto the top of the cake, and smooth over using a clean palette knife. Snip off the ends of the piping bags containing the dark and light pink buttercreams, and pipe 3-4 cm lines randomly over the top of the cake. Use a cleaned palette knife to smooth over these (this forms a nice swirl of colour, which may well end up looking nicer than my attempt!)

8. Pipe the remainder of the dark pink buttercream around the base of the cake, forming two rings of dark pink buttercream.

9. Repeat with the light pink buttercream, and then the white buttercream, so that from base to top, you have two rings of dark pink, two rings of light pink and two rows of white buttercream.

10. Use a clean palette knife to smooth around the sides of the cake - you will have a lot of excess buttercream,  which can be used to patch any errors (or can be frozen to store!).

11. Place in the fridge to set up for at least 20 minutes.

To make the tuxedo strawberries and chocolate hearts:

1. Break the white chocolate into chunks and place in a small microwavable bowl. Heat on full power for 20 second intervals, stirring well after each burst until all of the chocolate has melted.

2. Hold the strawberries by the leaves and dip into the white chocolate so that the bottom two thirds of the strawberry are covered in white chocolate. Place on a sheet of greaseproof paper, and chill for 10-15 minutes, until set.

3. With the spare melted white chocolate, lightly colour half of the chocolate pink (if you have concentrated food gel, NOT if you use a liquid gel!), and add teaspoons into heart moulds. You can add little bits of white and pink to the same mould to get a pretty swirled heart effect.

3. Break the dark chocolate into chunks, and heat in a microwave for 30 second intervals, stirring well after each addition until melted.

4. Hold each strawberry by the leaves, and dip opposite sides of the strawberry into the dark chocolate at a 90 degree angle - so that the strawberry is wearing a "tuxedo jacket". Place on the greaseproof paper.

5. Pour the remaining dark chocolate into a piping bag and cut the tip of the piping bag a few mm from the end. Carefully pipe three buttons and a bow tie onto each strawberry. Chill for 15 minutes to set.

6. Pipe the remaining dark chocolate into the heart moulds and chill for around 15 minutes until firm.

To finish:

1. Top the cake with the tuxedo strawberries and hearts

2. Enjoy!

Cookies and Cream Cake Swiss Meringue Buttercream Chocolate Tuxedo Strawberries Valentines

TammymumMummy in a Tutu
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Monday, 6 February 2017

Pineapple, Lime and Coconut Marshmallows

Pineapple Lime Coconut Marshmallows


I've been making pretty elaborate cakes the past few weeks, so decided to try something completely different out :)

This recipe is insanely addictive - if you enjoy marshmallows, you will love these, and your friends will only ask for you to make more of them :) It's a really versatile recipe for marshmallows, which uses gelatine to get the spongy texture of the perfect mallow. I used a combination of pineapple and lime juice, but you can use whatever juice you like :) I've even heard of people using coconut milk, which would be delicious.

I was going to take a picture of the whole batch but well...they were demolished too quickly. I just managed to snap this last one!

The marshmallows will keep up to a week in an airtight container (but they'll probably be too delicious to last that long)

Makes around 25 marshmallows

Ingredients:

  • 90ml (6 tbsp) pineapple juice
  • 30ml (2 tbsp) lime juice
  • 2 x 12g sachets gelatine powder
  • 450g (3 cups) caster sugar
  • 150ml (2/3 cup) golden syrup
  • 150ml (2/3 cup) water
  • 50g (1/2 cup) icing sugar
  • 2 tbsp cornflour
  • 3 tbsp desiccated coconut
  • Flavourless oil, for greasing


Method:

1. Line a 20cm square tub or tin with clingfilm. Pour the pineapple and lime juice into a mixing bowl, and sprinkle over the two sachets of gelatine powder. Set aside until the gelatine has been absorbed into the liquid (it will become very thick) - this will only take around 5 minutes.

2. Pour the golden syrup, caster sugar and water into a medium saucepan and heat on a low heat, stirring constantly until the sugar has dissolved.

3. Turn the heat up and bring the mixture to a boil. Boil until the mixture reaches 130C/ 266F , and then remove from the heat for a few minutes (just until it has stopped boiling).

4. Start whisking the gelatine mixture in the mixing bowl (using an electric whisk or in a stand mixer with the whisk attachment). Slowly and carefully, pour the hot sugar syrup onto the gelatine mixture, whisking constantly. The mixture will steadily grow in volume.

5. Once all of the sugar syrup has been added, keep whisking for 5 to 10 minutes, until the bowl just feels warm to the touch. The marshmallow will be very thick and sticky.

6. In a small bowl, sieve together the cornflour and icing sugar. Add the desiccated coconut. Sprinkle half of this on the base of the lined square tub.

7. Lightly oil a spatula and use this to transfer the marshmallow into the tub. Leave to set at room temperature for 1 to 2 hours, until firm.

8. Sprinkle the remaining of the icing sugar/cornflour/coconut onto a chopping board, and tip the marshmallow out onto this board.

9. Remove the clingfilm. Dip a sharp knife in hot water, dry, then slice the marshmallow into 25 pieces. After each cut, repeat the dipping and drying - this will give the cleanest slices.

10. Turn the marshmallow squares in any spare icing sugar/cornflour, so that all sides are covered.

11. Enjoy!

Pineapple Lime Coconut Marshmallows


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Sunday, 29 January 2017

Chocolate Brownie Cake with Cinnamon Swiss Meringue Buttercream and Italian Macarons

Close up Chocolate Brownie Cake with Cinnamon brown sugar swiss meringue buttercream, chocolate drip and Italian macarons

Chocolate Brownie Cake with Cinnamon brown sugar swiss meringue buttercream, chocolate drip and Italian macarons


So this week I finally handed in my PhD thesis (and started a new job to boot!). To thank my lab for all their hard work looking over the thesis, I decided to bake an elaborate cake. The base cake is a deep chocolate-y brownie - so delicious I may use it for my standard chocolate cake in the future! I also decided to try out a new kind of buttercream that I've seen on quite a few American baking/cake decorating shows, but not many in the UK. Swiss meringue buttercream is silky and smooth, and not as rich as classic buttercream (which still holds a dear place in my heart). Using brown sugar and cinnamon gave the buttercream a delicious deep flavour of a cinnamon roll (divine!)

I gave the cake a slight ombre effect (where the buttercream goes from dark to light), but I admit, it's pretty subtle.

The macarons are optional - I think they add a nice touch - I slightly modified a previous recipe, and this makes a lot of macarons (at least 30 halves). If you don't fill them, they freeze really well to be used on another occasion OR just fill them as an extra delicious treat :) I filled them with the spare Swiss meringue buttercream for macaron bliss :) My other macaron recipes (cinnamon spiced and chocolate raspberry) have some other filling recipes.

One important point for the Swiss meringue buttercream - your butter MUST be at room temperature. The best way to achieve this is to leave it out of the fridge for 24 hours prior to use. It's very tricky to get the butter to the correct temperature in the microwave so this will save you a big headache.

Makes one 20cm cake

Ingredients:

For the cake:

  • 250g (1 cup) unsalted butter
  • 200g (1 & 1/3 cups) dark chocolate (55% cocoa solids)
  • 300g (1 & 1/2 cups) granulated sugar (or brown sugar for an extra caramel note)
  • 4 tbsp water
  • 100g (2/3 cup) dark chocolate chips
  • 4 medium eggs
  • 200g (1 & 2/3 cups) plain flour
  • 75g (1/2 cup) chopped walnuts
  • 30g (4 tbsp) cocoa powder


For the cinnamon brown sugar Swiss meringue buttercream:

  • 6 egg whites
  • 300g (1 & 2/3 cups) brown sugar
  • 400g (1 & 3/4 cups) unsalted butter, cut into 1-2cm cubes (ROOM TEMPERATURE)
  • 1-2 tbsp ground cinnamon (to taste)
  • 2 tsp cocoa powder (optional)


For the chocolate drip:

  • 150g (1 cup) dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids)
  • 100g (7 tbsp) unsalted butter


For the macarons:

  • 170g (1 & 2/3 cups) icing sugar
  • 160g (1 & 1/3 cups) ground almonds
  • 4 medium egg whites
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 160g (3/4 cups & 1 tbsp) granulated sugar
  • 50ml water
  • ivory food colouring (optional)

To finish:
  • 30g (2 tbsp) chopped walnuts
  • 50g (1/3 cup) milk chocolate

Method:

To make the cake layers:

1. Preheat your oven to 180c (160c fan)/ 355F/ gas mark 4 . Grease two 20cm springform or loose bottomed round cake tins, then tip in about 1 tbsp of cocoa powder. Tap the tin to evenly distribute the cocoa.

2. In a saucepan melt together the 200g dark chocolate (broken into chunks), unsalted butter (chopped into chunks), sugar and water. Once all of the butter and chocolate have melted set aside to cool for a few minutes.

3. In a large mixing bowl pour in the chocolate/butter melted mixture. Add the chocolate chips, eggs, flour, chopped nuts and cocoa powder, and beat until smooth.

4. Pour into the prepared cake tins (get them as even as possible), and bake for 18-20 minutes, until the top of the cake feels springy and the top feels crisp. If you shake the tin, there should be a small amount of wobble in the very centre of the cake - this will make the layers moist and delicious.

5. Leave the cakes in their tins to cool for 10 minutes, then remove onto a wire rack to cool completely.

6. Level the top of the cakes using a serrated knife (eat the cut offs if you want a chef's perk!)

To make the buttercream:

1. Place a few tablespoons of water in a small saucepan, and get a heatable mixing bowl (i.e. not a plastic one!) that can fit on the saucepan without touching the water. Into this bowl add the egg whites and brown sugar.

2. Place the saucepan on a low heat, and place the mixing bowl on top. Use an electric whisk to beat the egg whites/brown sugar, until the mixture reaches 71c/ 160F. This will take about 10 minutes.

3. Remove the bowl from the heat, and tip the egg white/sugar mixture into another large mixing bowl (this will help the meringue to cool a bit faster). 

4. Use an electric whisk to beat the meringue until it is glossy and a stiff peak of meringue forms when the whisk is lifted from the mixture (i.e. a peak falls where the tip stays upright and doesn't fall to either side).

5. Whilst whisking, add the butter chunk by chunk. Don't be tempted to add more than a chunk at a time, as the mixture may curdle. Keep beating, until all of the butter has been added and the buttercream is smooth.

6. Add the cinnamon and whisk in briefly. If you want to try out the ombre effect, take out 3 tbsp of the buttercream into another bowl, and whisk the 2 tsp of cocoa into that buttercream. Set aside until ready to use.

To start assembly:

1. Place a small amount of buttercream on the serving dish/cake board and stick the first cake layer onto the board. 

2. Using a palette knife, spread buttercream onto the cake so that it is about 1/2 cm high and reaches the edges of the cake.

3. Top with the other cake layer. Smooth over a layer of buttercream on the top and around the edges of the cake - this is known as the crumb coat, and is a thin layer of buttercream that will make your cake seem more professional when done. 

4. Place the cake in the fridge to set for 20 minutes.

5. Place a few large spoonfuls of buttercream on the top of the cake, and use a palette knife to smooth the buttercream over the top as evenly as possible.

6. If attempting the ombre cake, place the cocoa buttercream in a piping bag, and cut off 1cm from the tip. Pipe around the base of the cake two times to form to rings.

7. Place the remainder of the cinnamon buttercream into another piping bag and cut as previously. Pipe rings around the rest of the sides of the cake. Use any remainder buttercream to fill macarons!

If you don't want the ombre effect, simply dollop on a large amount of buttercream on the side of the cake so that vertically it covers the whole section. Then use a palette knife to spread the buttercream around as much of the side as possible. Repeat until the whole of the cake is covered, then run the knife around the cake one more time to remove any "seams" the knife may have made.

8. Place a long palette knife (or a dough scraper) vertically against the side of your cake, and slide it around the sides of the cake. Place any excess buttercream into a bowl. Don't worry if you have some bald patches, just take your time and add more buttercream to those areas. Then smooth over again.

9. Place in the fridge for 20 minutes to set.

For the chocolate drip:

1. Melt the chocolate and butter in a saucepan. Once all of the butter and chocolate have melted, pour into a measuring jug and leave to cool until it is 30c/ 86F. This will take at least 10-15 minutes.

2. Pour onto the middle of the top of the cake, and use a palette knife to smooth the chocolate to the edges. Gently use the knife to smooth over the edge and create the drip effect. Ideally you want the drips to be different lengths so smooth over more or less of the chocolate drip when you want a longer or shorter drip, respectively.

3. Place in the fridge to set.

For the macarons:

1. Blitz the icing sugar and the ground almonds in a food processor, pulsing it around 10 times until well mixed. Sieve into a mixing bowl.

2. Add 2 egg whites to the icing sugar/ground almonds and beat to a paste.

3. Clean a mixing bowl well, and wipe the lemon juice over the inside of the bowl and the beaters for an electric whisk. Pour the remaining 2 egg whites into the bowl, and whisk until it is foamy and stiff peaks form.

3. Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan heat the granulated sugar and water until the sugar syrup reaches 118c/ 244F.

4. Whilst whisking (being careful to not touch the sugar syrup), pour the sugar syrup slowly onto the egg whites. Keep whisking on a high speed until the meringue is glossy and forms stiff peaks. You have essentially now made Italian meringue.

5. Spoon one third of the meringue mixture onto the macarons, and beat in - at this stage you don't need to worry about over beating.

6. Add the remaining meringue mixture, and gently fold in. Once no more egg white can be seen, divide the mixture into two separate bowls. Colour one ivory and leave one plain.

7. Grease and line the base of 3 baking trays with baking parchment. Pour the macaron mixture into a piping bag, and cut off the tip 1cm from the end. On two baking sheets pipe 4cm circles of macarons, leaving at leave 1&1/2 cm between each macarons. On the third sheet pipe 1cm circles.

8. Tap the base of the baking trays against the kitchen surface and leave for at least half an hour for a "skin" to form - this means that when you touch the macaron lightly, no mixture sticks to your finger.

9. Preheat the oven to 170c (150c fan)/ 340F/ gas mark 3. Before placing in the oven tap the baking sheets once more against the kitchen surface. Bake the larger macarons for around 8 minutes, until the tops look crisp and firm. Bake the smaller macarons for around 4 minutes.

10. Leave to cool.

11. Fill with the remaining buttercream (or spare chocolate drip).

To assemble:

1. Melt the milk chocolate in a microwavable bowl on high power for 20 second bursts in the microwave, stirring well after each addition. 

2. Once melted pour into a piping bag and cut off the 1/2 cm from the tip. Pipe drops (around 1cm in diameter) onto a sheet of baking paper. You could also pipe any other shape or design you wanted :) 

3. Place some of the macarons on the top of the cake as you like. Scatter over the chopped walnuts and chocolate drops.

4. Enjoy!!

Close up Chocolate Brownie Cake with Cinnamon brown sugar swiss meringue buttercream, chocolate drip and Italian macarons

TammymumHijacked By Twins
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Wednesday, 25 January 2017

Black Bean Coconut Brownies

Healthy Black Bean Coconut Brownies


I wanted to try to make some healthy brownies that didn't have loads of nuts in them, as I know plenty of people who need nut-free recipes :) I had heard about switching butter for black beans, and also switching out flour for coconut flour - I used a quarter of the amount of coconut flour to that of flour (the original recipe said 100g) but kept the quantity of black beans the same as that of the butter (240g). This makes the brownies gluten-free and nut-free, as well as being low in sugar and pretty high in protein :)

These brownies are fudgy and delicious. Don't be put off by the black beans, they replace the butter in the recipe and really are what make the brownies soft and yummy. They are also a great source of dietary fibre and good sources of other goodies like iron, magnesium and vitamin B1.

Makes 36

Ingredients:

  • 100g cocoa powder
  • 240g drained tin black beans
  • 2 tsp stevia
  • 100g desiccated coconut
  • 25g coconut flour
  • 2 tbsp almond milk (unsweetened)
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder (gluten free)
  • Pinch of sea salt (I used smoked)


Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 180c (160c fan)/ 355F/ gas mark 4.

2. Grease and line the base of a 20 x 20cm square cake tin with baking parchment.

3. Finely blend the drained black beans.

4. Add all of the remaining ingredients and beat together until smooth. If the mixture is too thick to beat add another tablespoon of almond milk.

5. Once spreadable consistency, place in the prepared baking tin.

6. Bake for 20-25 minutes, checking after 10 minutes that it isn't browning too much. When the top feels crisp to the touch, it is ready.

7. Leave to cool, then cut into squares and store in an airtight tub.

8. These will keep for about a week.

Nutrition per serving:
45.7kcal, 2.2g total carbohydrates (0.3g sugar), 2.9g total fat (2g saturated fat), 2g protein


Healthy Black Bean Coconut Brownies

Tammymum
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